SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

April 29, 2011

College student injured in trolley crash files lawsuit

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"It never ends," said her father, who had just dropped off his daughter at school after a physical therapy session yesterday.

Quinn is now serving two years of probation after pleading guilty to gross negligence in the operation of the trolley in December.

Meanwhile, the National Transportation Safety Board announced yesterday it has concluded its investigation of the crash, finding that texting caused Quinn to "lose his situational awareness and his focus on operating the train."

But Mattei and at least eight other passengers injured in the crash are also hoping to hold Quinn and the MBTA civilly liable.

The lawsuit, filed yesterday in Salem Superior Court, names both Quinn and the T, and alleges that both parties were negligent.

Eight other lawsuits have been filed since the crash, all of them in Suffolk County. This is the first filed in Essex County. Sixty-five people on board the trolley, including Quinn, were injured in the crash, which also caused almost $10 million in damage.

The T failed to adequately evaluate driver Quinn's background prior to putting him at the controls of a trolley, Salem lawyer Jim Skerry charged in the lawsuit.

Quinn, 24 at the time, had two prior speeding tickets in Massachusetts and one in New Hampshire, and the year before the crash had an at-fault accident in Boston.

Skerry also charged that the T knew about drivers using cellphones while operating trains, but didn't take steps to enforce a policy banning that practice.

The T has since barred drivers from carrying cellphones at all while on duty.

Skerry also says the T failed to upgrade control systems for the Green Line, systems that are used on the other T lines and in other systems, and which would have prevented the accident.

The lawsuit said the T is liable for the actions of its employee.

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